Sanctuary's Greatest Monster Battle: Vampire Squid vs. Sea Scorpion

After the last episode's disappointing monster no-show, Sanctuary gives us a bona fide battle of the abnormals, pitting the normally docile vampire squid against the vicious sea scorpion. Which critter will come out on top?

Updated with squid-fighting action.

Admittedly, I was prepared to dislike this episode on principle. "Next Tuesday" (without the words "See You" in front of it) has always been teased as Magnus and Will getting stranded somewhere and having a potentially fatal encounter with an abnormal. Sound familiar? It should if you've seen the first season episodes "Kush" (in which Magnus and Will crash in the Himalayas and have to survive a killer abnormal) and "Requiem" (wherein Magnus and Will are stuck in a submarine while Magnus suffers a deadly parasitic infection). Does Sanctuary not pay their other actors enough?


Anyhow, while on a conservation mission to capture the rare vampire squid from the Gulf of Mexico, Magnus and and Will's helicopter crashes inside a decommissioned oil rig, causing the vampire squid to escape. However, we're quickly assured that the vampire squid isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds. Apparently, the descriptor "vampire" refers to it's intellect rather than a penchant for sucking blood (Why? Because Nikola Tesla is a vampire?), and the squid is quite docile. Immediately, I smelled another Big Bertha bait and switch.


"Next Tuesday" is also plagued by incredible crimes against logic, too many to fully enumerate here. Hatches on the helicopter that were open in one shot are mysteriously closed in the next. An acetylene torch similarly appears and disappears. At one point, the helicopter sinks rapidly, but fails to pull any people or objects down with it. And despite claims that the helicopter is soaked in fuel, it only explodes when it's convenient. For such a claustrophobic episode, there is remarkably little attention to detail.

But there was one redeeming factor. We actually got to see some abnormal-on-abnormal violence. It turns out that when the team lifted off, they were carrying an unexpected stowaway: a clever and vicious sea scorpion. And, as a bonus, the normally docile vampire squid becomes quite violent when faced with a turf war with the sea scorpion. After last week, it was refreshing to see a little monster action.

So who wins in the battle between scorpion and squid? As it turns out, no one. The squid bites it, the scorpion bites it, the helicopter bites it, and Magnus and Will are left treading water inside the oil rig (presumably, they'll eventually be rescued). So much for monster conservation.

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I was finishing up a project and had last night's episode playing as 'background music', so admittedly I wasn't paying close attention to it, but [edit did the story explain] why Magnus blew up the 'copter and the squid rather than wait to see who won the battle? The action seemed to negate all the lip-service given to the mission of protecting the abnormals.

[edit] Why would the helicopter sinking rapidly drag anything down with it?